Francis J. Cassidy Jr.

MACHIAS and FRANKLIN — Francis J. Cassidy Jr., 61, died of pancreatic cancer Jan. 17, 2012, in the Veterans Affairs hospice unit at Togus in Augusta with his wife, Katherine, beside him. Previously of Brooklyn, N.Y., where he grew up with eight siblings in a spirited Irish Catholic family, he has been a proud Mainer for more than 30 years.

He graduated from Nazareth High School, Hunter College and Pace University Law School, all in New York. For some of his finest years, 1968-1972, he served in the U.S. Navy as a Seabee at Little Creek, Va. An attorney, he devoted himself to working with court-appointed clients in Hancock and Washington counties for 30 years. He loved working with those in the Washington County Courthouse and Jail across the street from his home. He believed in second and third chances, and volunteered with Judge Romei’s Drug Court for five years. “I’m a poor lawyer for poor people” were his words to Katherine when they first met at Ellsworth’s Poinsettia Ball 10 years ago. A selfless, giving man, Frank lived in Franklin his first 20 years in Maine. He and his family were active with Gilbert and Sullivan productions at The Grand in Ellsworth, as well as the Franklin Historical Society. Eight years ago he and Katherine moved to Machias. With her and others, he was a co-founder of the Machias Historical Society and the Margaretta Days Festival. He also served on the board of the Washington County Children’s Program, and, with Katherine, delivered 100 newspapers daily on his scooter, in 2004 and 2005. As a judge for the pie-eating contest of the Wild Blueberry Festival, for three years, he dressed in top hat and white tuxedo on those magical August days in Machias. Frank rarely appeared in public without a bow tie. He loved the UMM Ukulele Club, knitting, national parks, Pete Seeger and recounting a good story. But his first love was Civil War re-enacting. As a 20-year member of the 20th Maine Company B, he took part in parades and encampments in dozens of Maine towns. Even though he was tired that weekend, he managed to join the other soldiers last June at their encampment in Lubec for the town’s Bicentennial. He met the challenges of his illness with grace, and a determination to live his life fully in spite of his diagnosis in November 2010. We are most grateful for the tremendous professional care Frank received throughout his illness. We especially thank Dr. Patrick Daly and the palliative care staff at Togus.

He leaves Katherine; and two sons, Charles Furth-Cassidy of Bangor and George Furth-Cassidy of Waterloo, Iowa; plus one brother, seven sisters and two young grandsons.

Frank’s life will be celebrated 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012, at Holy Name Catholic Church, Machias. Donations in Frank’s name may go toward a fund for gas cards for Washington County families traveling for cancer treatment, via the Beth C. Wright Cancer Resource Center, P.O. Box 322, Ellsworth, ME 04605.

Know when to pay your respects.